Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space

Abstract:
According to Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen of Bowling Green State University, disabilities can be superpowers for astronauts in space. A position she and her co-author, Joshua Miele, of the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, will explain Sunday May 27th at 3 pm at the National Space Society's annual International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles.

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space

Washington, DC | Posted on May 17th, 2018

Dr. Wells-Jensen uses the 1997 fire aboard Russia's Mir Space Station as an example of the advantages that disabled astronauts can bring to emergency situations. During the Mir fire, thick smoke obstructed the astronauts' vision. Without being able to see, the astronauts could not find the Mir's fire extinguishers. Dr. Wells-Jensen says that a blind astronaut would have had no difficulty locating the extinguishers or any of the station's other vital tools. Dr. Wells-Jensen explains that lighting systems are typically the first things to fail in spacecraft emergencies. The sudden loss of light can disorient and panic sighted astronauts, she says, handicapping them when speed and awareness are paramount. But malfunctioning lights present no problem to a blind astronaut.

Then there are people who have lost their limbs. Leglessness is no problem in space's zero gravity. A legless astronaut can get into spaces in a craft that other astronauts may not be able to squeeze into.

And there's another advantage of handicapped astronauts: neural plasticity. Research shows that the brain rewires itself to give superpowers to the disabled. For example, the blind develop supernormal senses of sound and touch. Amputees develop the ability to accomplish miracles of strength and dexterity, like the championship running of Oscar Pistorius. In addition, astronauts missing arms can be equipped with specialized prosthetics that allow deeds beyond the powers of five fingers.

Dr. Wells-Jensen adds that modifications to existing equipment and technology to accommodate blind astronauts would also yield unexpected advantages to all astronauts. Spacesuit gloves are currently cumbersome and would not allow blind astronauts to feel their surroundings. Redesigning those gloves would ultimately benefit all astronauts. And equipping visual displays with audio or tactile feedback would provide all astronauts with a fail-safe should vision be blocked in an emergency.

Says Dr. Wells-Jensen, "It's not the disability itself that represents an advantage: it's the genius of human cognition that reorganizes and reimagines work flow when it encounters interesting problems to solve." Concludes Wells-Jensen, "if disabled people are integrated into the crew, the whole team benefits and has a better chance of surviving."

###

The National Space Society's International Space Development Conference will take place from May 24th to May 27th at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, 6101 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90045.

####

About National Space Society
NSS is an independent non-profit educational membership organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space, with thousands of members and supporters, and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. To learn more, visit the NSS Website (space.nss.org).

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Aggie Kobrin
Show Producer
949-836-8464


Lynne Zielinski
202-429-1600

Copyright © National Space Society

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Lehigh University to lead ‘integrative partnerships’ for multi-university research collaboration in advanced optoelectronic material development: 5-year, $25 million NSF investment in IMOD, a revolutionary center for optoelectronic, quantum technologies September 10th, 2021

Engineering various sources of loss provides new features for perfect light absorption: "Loss is ubiquitous in nature, and by better understanding it, we make it more useful" September 10th, 2021

New substance classes for nanomaterials: Nano spheres and diamond slivers made of silicon and germanium: Potential applications as nano semiconductor materials September 10th, 2021

‘Anti-rust’ coating for plants protects against disease with cellulose nanofiber: Researchers from the University of Tsukuba find that coating soybean plant leaves with cellulose nanofiber offers resistance to infection by Asian soybean rust pathogen September 10th, 2021

Possible Futures

‘Anti-rust’ coating for plants protects against disease with cellulose nanofiber: Researchers from the University of Tsukuba find that coating soybean plant leaves with cellulose nanofiber offers resistance to infection by Asian soybean rust pathogen September 10th, 2021

Leibniz Prize winner Professor Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt moves to Chemnitz University of Technology: President Professor Dr. Gerd Strohmeier refers to an 'absolute top transfer' September 10th, 2021

Ultrafast & ultrathin: new physics professor at TU Dresden makes mysterious quantum world visible September 10th, 2021

Stretching the capacity of flexible energy storage September 10th, 2021

Announcements

‘Anti-rust’ coating for plants protects against disease with cellulose nanofiber: Researchers from the University of Tsukuba find that coating soybean plant leaves with cellulose nanofiber offers resistance to infection by Asian soybean rust pathogen September 10th, 2021

Leibniz Prize winner Professor Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt moves to Chemnitz University of Technology: President Professor Dr. Gerd Strohmeier refers to an 'absolute top transfer' September 10th, 2021

Ultrafast & ultrathin: new physics professor at TU Dresden makes mysterious quantum world visible September 10th, 2021

Stretching the capacity of flexible energy storage September 10th, 2021

Aerospace/Space

The National Space Society Joins the Progressive Policy Institute in Supporting Rapid Development of Space Solar Power: Orbiting Solar Power Stations Would Help to Save the Environment August 20th, 2021

From anti-icing coatings to protection of containers with flammable liquids: heating films with graphene nanotubes enter the market August 20th, 2021

NIST’s quantum crystal could be a new dark matter sensor Peer-Reviewed Publication August 6th, 2021

Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Winner Jeff Bezos Donates One Million to Lifeboat Foundation Dream Project Winner Teachers in Space July 30th, 2021

Human Interest/Art

Graphene nanotubes revolutionize touch screen use for prosthetic hands August 3rd, 2021

JEOL Announces 2020 Microscopy Image Grand Prize Winners January 7th, 2021

No ink needed for these graphene artworks: Artist employs Rice University lab's laser-induced graphene as medium for ultramodern art May 3rd, 2019

'Quantum Rhapsodies' performance explores quantum physics, its role in our universe April 5th, 2019

Events/Classes

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Participate in Upcoming September 2021 Conferences September 1st, 2021

UVA Engineering researchers join quest to demonstrate photonic systems-on-chip: Future applications include faster, more efficient data centers and next-generation millimeter-wave wireless communication July 30th, 2021

Arrowhead Presents Preclinical Data on ARO-DUX4 at FSHD Society International Research Congress June 25th, 2021

Arrowhead Presents Positive Interim Clinical Data on ARO-HSD Treatment in Patients with Suspected NASH at EASL International Liver Congress June 24th, 2021

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project